e all know how important it is to keep our homes clean. But there is often one area we don’t think about sprucing up: the air. A study from the National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) found that indoor air pollution can be up to three times higher than outside – caused by everything from lighting candles to cooking.
And considering we spend most of our time indoors, this can dramatically affect our health. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to that; an air purifier.
Air purifiers are an appliance that have been specifically designed to clean and improve the quality of the air in your home. They remove any impurities such as pollen, mould, dust and pet dander. Air purifiers can be a life-changing appliance for people who have allergies, asthma or lung conditions.
These devices work by sucking in the air and trapping any pollutants in a filter before expelling the clean air back into the room. These filters will have to be regularly cleaned or replaced to keep them in top condition. Some air purifiers use a carbon filter which can help neutralise odours, which is helpful if you don’t like the lingering cooking smells or live with pets and teenagers. Some even claim to ionise the air. That means that when it captures the air, it electrically charges it, therefore further improving its quality. There’s no real evidence that ionising air makes any real difference to our health. Still, if you suffer from any allergies or sensitivities, then anything is worth a go.
What to look for when buying an air purifier
Noise: Whether you want an air purifier for your sitting room or bedroom, it’s essential to consider the noise pollution that your chosen machine will put out. Choose one that works quietly when it is on the lowest setting to ensure that it doesn’t interrupt your daily activities.
Speed: The majority of air purifiers have multiple speed settings, so try to choose one that you can adjust. This means that you have the option to lower it when you want it to be less noticeable, for example, when you’re watching TV, or ramp it up when the pollen levels are high.
A built-in air-sensor: A built-in air sensor will sense when the air quality is poor and automatically switch itself on and get to work. This is a great function for those who suffer seasonal allergies.
CADR function: CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is how long it’ll take for your air purifier to remove the unwanted particles per hour. The higher the number, the better the air purifier is.
HEPA filter: There are various filters when it comes to air purifiers. However, HEPA is one of the best. HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, catches more pollutants than other filtration systems. In fact, it can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. And that’s important because particles that range between 0.3 and 0.9 microns cause the biggest health risk as they can easily get past our nose hair and into our system.
Where to place your air purifier?
Air purifiers work best when it’s one per room, so choose one that will work for the size room you have; it’s better to have one that covers a larger area than not enough. It may not always be possible to have multiple purifiers in your home, so consider how portable your choice is before taking the plunge. They should be placed away from walls and furniture to get the best performance. Also, when you’re using your air purifier, its best to keep doors and windows closed so you don’t overload your air purifier with too much-unfiltered air.
What’s the difference between an air purifier, humidifier and a dehumidifier?
It’s easy to think that these three machines do a similar job since they look and sound so alike. But they all do very different things, and it’s important to know the difference – so you don’t get the wrong gadget for your needs. An air purifier circulates air through a filter, capturing any harmful pollutants in the air. On the other hand, a dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air pumping out dry air, which is useful if your home suffers from damp or condensation. And then, a humidifier adds water to the air but doesn’t clean it, so it may ease symptoms of conditions such as colds, blocked sinuses or other respiratory conditions.
Do you still have to clean if you have an air purifier?
Unfortunately, yes. Air purifiers can’t get rid of any particles that have already settled on to surfaces or furniture. So the best way to keep your home protected against these is to dust and wipe down your surfaces with a good antibacterial cleaner. As well as regular vacuuming and mopping of your floors. Combining a good cleaning routine with an air purifier is the best way to defeat indoor air pollution.
We’ve put together a list of the best air purifiers on the market to help you improve your indoor air quality.
Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool™ Formaldehyde
Best for: style points
Aside from looking super stylish, this three-in-one air purifier does it all. It cleanses the air and has a heat and cool function – so it’s the perfect companion for every season.
This machine has an integrated sensor that will continually analyse the air and turn it on when it senses that the quality is dropping. The HEPA H13 filter will remove particles smaller than 0.1 microns, including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds, which is very useful if you’ve been doing DIY, purchased new furniture, or just left your windows open. The filter also has a layer of activated carbon which will rid your home of any nasty smells.
This air purifier model is incredibly quiet at just 62dB at its loudest. It oscillates up to 350º so the clean and purified air will circulate your entire space.
Set up is super simple, download the app to your Android or iOS device, and you can control and monitor the air quality in your home from anywhere. Keeping the filter clean is simple, thanks to the filter life notification on the app or the LCD control panel on the machine. If you don’t want to use your smartphone to control this machine, it also comes with a handy remote which won’t get lost as it is magnetised and sticks to the top of the machine when not in use. It can also be controlled via smart home devices such as Google Home, Alexa and Siri.
This air purifier works well in rooms up to 27m².
Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK
Best for: fast cleaning
If there’s one thing Shark know from their experience in vacuum cleaners, it’s how to manufacture products with great filtration systems. And the Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600 offers super speedy cleaning of the air in your home. It is quite a large unit but more in height than width. It has six fans placed at the back of the unit, which filters the air and pushes it back out via the side. This is particularly useful if you’re using it in the main sitting area and don’t want to have to deal with a cold draught. It’s also very energy-efficient, with the fans switching to standby mode once the cleaning is complete.
When it comes to filters, the Shark uses a HEPA which can capture up to 99.7 per cent of pollutants and allergens. It also has activated carbon pellets, so as well as getting rid of particles, it’ll also rid your home of any nasty odours and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). It’s easy to control with the panel on the top of the machine and also a remote control. This air purifier has Clean Sense IQ, automatically tracking air quality and will adjust the cleaning power to suit. It suits large rooms and can cover up to 64m².
Best for: smart purification
The AEG AX91 is a stylish and powerful air purifier. It has a five-stage filtration system that can trap up to 99.5 per cent of pollutants and can get rid of over 99 per cent of bacteria. The sensor constantly measures the quality of the air and automatically adjusts based on the type of particles, the temperature and the humidity. There is a light ring on the front machine, so you see your air quality at a quick glance.
This is a smart connection air purifier so it comes with the AEG Wellbeing app, which allows you to control the purifier as well as understand the quality of your air, schedule it to work and get live updates on the condition of your filters so you know when to change them. This air purifier is very quiet, too, so you’ll hardly know it’s on running at just 49dB when the fans are on maximum.
A special AirSurround system brings the air into the machine with a powerful spiral movement. This means that it is more efficient and can bring in a considerable amount of air, prolonging the filter’s life. It is best in rooms up to 37m² and works quickly too, so you don’t need to have it running for a long time.
Hoover H-Purifier 300 HHP30C WiFi Connected Air Purifier
Best for: large spaces
This air purifier is ideal for large spaces as it works in rooms up to 100m². It uses a triple-layer filtration system which guarantees up to 99.9 per cent of allergens are removed from the air. Built-in pollen neutraliser technology also gives an even better purification performance.
The Hoover H-Purifier 300 has built-in Wi-Fi so that you can control it from your smartphone. The Hoover app also lets you monitor indoor and outdoor air pollution levels, humidity and temperature – all in real-time. An LED light at the front of the machine will glow green when the air quality is good and red when it needs purifying. To make it easier for the ring to stay in the green, this machine has an auto mode program that will set your air purifier to run when it detects poor air quality.
It’s a brilliant choice for bedrooms as there is a special quiet mode so it’ll work away cleansing the air as well as dim the lights on the machine so it won’t disturb your sleep. It uses the HEPA filtration system, which will eliminate over 99 per cent of pollutants in as little as 10 minutes.
Blueair Blue Pure 3410 Air Purifier
Best for: efficiency
This air purifier from BlueAir is perfect for rooms up to 17m². It uses a three-step filtration process. First, it brings the air into a fabric pre-filter, which captures larger particles like hair. The next step is going through to the main filter, which captures particles as small as 0.1 microns. Before finally pushing the air through the activated carbon sheet to absorb pollutants such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), smoke and traffic fumes and removes any odours to leave your air feeling fresh and clean. This is perfect if you like to leave your windows open.
The machine runs every 12 minutes on auto-mode to remove all dust, pollen, and bacteria. It is compact so that it won’t take over your space. Operating this air purifier is no problem as it’s straightforward to use with just one button that cycles through all the settings, including an auto-mode. This is a very quiet air purifier, partly down to its HEPASilent™ filtration system, which is less dense. Because the filters are less dense, they need less air pressure, so they’re quieter and more energy efficient. But whilst on its lowest setting, it is just 23dB which is about the same amount of noise pollution as a whisper.
AEG AX51-304WT WiFi Connected Air Purifier
Best for: a compact purifier
This air purifier has a unique design. But what we love most about it is that you can mount it on the wall or have it stand alone on the floor. Because it’s white, it also blends seamlessly into most rooms. It is easy to operate with just one button on the top, allowing you to select the mode. An auto mode works in conjunction with the sensors to adjust cleaning performance depending on your air quality. It uses a Breeze all-round filter that ensures up to 99.6 per cent filtration of micro-particles.
The filters have a very good life span, lasting for around 24 months when the machine is used for up to 12 hours per day. It is suitable for rooms up to 59m² and has a 360-degree airflow system. This is a great air purifier for using in bedrooms as it’s very quiet, reaching only 26 decibels when on its lowest setting. It does have an app that can be used to operate the machine and inform you when the filters need to be replaced.
Instant Air Purifier
Best for: multiple room sizes
The brand that made InstantPot a must-have item in every home has now released a brand new air purifier. The Instant Air purifier uses a 3-in-1 filter system alongside plasma ion technology to capture and remove up to 99.9 per cent of allergens, bacteria, viruses and mould in polluted air. It’s a very stylish looking machine and comes in two colours.
There are three different sizes; small, medium and large. The small is perfect for bedrooms, home offices, and even kitchens, covering around 12m². The medium option will cover 21m² and work well in most larger living areas. And finally, the large option works well in rooms up to 31m². It has a great sensor system built-in, automatically adjusting the fan speed based on the air quality.
If you’re worried about energy consumption, it has an eco-mode that will cycle the fan on and off every 10 minutes if the air quality meets its desired target that results in up to 50 per cent less energy usage. It also has a night mode which senses the room lighting and will turn off the plasma ion generator and running lights whilst reducing the noise output, so you can sleep easy.
Dimplex – DXAPV3N – HEPA Air Purifier
Best for: a budget option
Small, compact and exceptional value for money, the Dimplex DXAPV3N air purifier is perfect for rooms up to 28m². It uses a combined HEPA and carbon filter to capture dust, pollen and pet dander with a success rate of up to 99.9 per cent. Dimplex’s device also uses Viro3 ionisation technology to reduce germs, viruses and other airborne allergens. It’s pretty quiet, with its loudest output being around 50dB. There are just two speed settings with a maximum airflow rate of 44m³. The purifier is also very energy efficient as it will only consume around 25W of power when on its lowest setting.
STARKVIND air purifier
Best for: design buffs
If you want an air purifier that is as stylish as it is functional, then this offering from IKEA is for you. It’s incredibly simple to use and can be operated via the buttons on the machine or by downloading the IKEA Home smart app, which can be controlled via Alexa, Google Home and Apple Homekit. The app also gives access to set up timers for your machine and check the status of the filter.
This purifier works well in spaces up to 20m² and filters approximately 99.5 per cent of all pollutants from 0.1 microns in size. This machine has five different fan settings as well as an auto-mode. Whilst it doesn’t come with the machine, you can purchase a gas filter to cleanse the air against volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, which is often found in cleaning sprays and wipes. The gas filter will also help to remove any unpleasant odours in your home.
This is an air purifier that has been designed to be seen so for the best results, place it away from the walls or any furniture. A built-in LED indicator will illuminate when the filters need cleaning or replacing. Each filter lasts approximately six months with 24/7 usage. The device is surprisingly quiet, with just 24 dB of noise output when on the lowest setting.
It’s also available set in a table – read our review here.
Blueair DustMagnet 5440i Air Purifier
Best for: getting rid of dust
This air purifier from Blueair packs a mighty punch and combines excellent design with superb functionality. In fact, the top of this air purifier can be used as a small table so it’s doubly useful. This device uses a specialist and trademarked DustMagnet function to suck in air from the vents on either end of the machine eliminating up to 99 per cent of dust before it has the chance to settle. It also has the HEPASilent™technology, which are more powerful whilst using less energy.
It’s simple to use as just one button lets you scroll through the three-speed settings, auto mode and sleep mode. There’s also a visual indicator of air quality levels via an LED light on the front panel. When night mode is selected these lights will be turned off and the fan will operate on the lowest mode. The machine has Wi-Fi capabilities and can be accessed via an app that offers more metrics such as real-time air quality, filter status, and set timers.
This air purifier works with Alexa, Google and Apple Homekit and it covers a large area working best in rooms up to 33m².
Aeris air purifier 3in1pro
If you’re new to the world of air purifiers, Aeris may just be the model for you. The Swiss engineered air purifier works wonders in removing contaminants, allergens, pollen, odour, dust, bacteria, and paint smells from the air to alleviate suffering and protect against external aggressors. It’s one of the cleanest and most powerful on the market.
It uses a multi-layered three-in-one purifying system with HEPA filters that remove more than 99.7 per cent of indoor pollutants with an almost non-existent sound. There’s even a night mode that won’t wake even the lightest of snoozers.
Installation is a breeze, simply attach the filters at the bottom, plug in and you’re ready to go. The device is fairly sizeable but offered in a pastel pink hue that will fit seamlessly among most interior styles. It is also available in white and graphite grey. Due to the size, it can work for large rooms from bedrooms, to living rooms of up to 70m2 and packs a powerful punch. It’s on wheels so you can move it around easily.
Button-wise, the brand has kept it to a minimum. There’s power, speed up (the small o) /down (big O) and our favourite – the a – a smart mode where the machine automatically tests the air quality and adapts the fan speed and to your schedule. A few hacks worth noting, the lowest speed is sleep mode, if you hold down the small o for eights seconds, you initiate the child lock function and you can connect to WiFi by pressing the smart a button for 10 seconds. After this, you can pair the purifier to its compatible app for all the information you could possibly need in a very clear layout. When it’s time to replace the filter, the screen will show a filter icon with a line through it.
The top is the air outlet, and the bottom inlet. The brand’s proprietary IAQ sensor sits on the front of the device and measures the air quality. The colour then corresponds to a chart; green for good, pale blue for moderate (acceptable air quality). Dark blue indicates sensitive groups may be affected and it ranges all the day to dark red which is hazardous and an emergency scenario where everyone is likely to be affected by the poor air quality. The device is constantly learning, improving its efficiency over time.
The filter should only need replacing around once a year.
There are so many great options of air purifiers on the market today and at various price points. If you have the budget and want a machine that can do more than just purify the air, we heartily recommend the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool™ Formaldehyde. This model works as a fan, a heater and an air purifier. It has a quality HEPA H13 filter that will sift out even the tiniest particles, including formaldehyde which is a harmful gas often found in popular household cleaning products. We love everything about this purifier, from the multi-function design to the smart capabilities and real-time metrics.
We also really rate the Instant Air Purifier, which uses a combination of a three-in-one filter and plasma ion technology to create clean, fresh air. It comes in three different sizes and is at a very reasonable price point.